Very little is known about the evolution of stellar activity between the ages of the Hyades (0.8 Gyr) and the Sun (4.6 Gyr). To gain information on the typical level of coronal activity at a star's intermediate age, the authors have studied the X-ray emission from stars in the 1.9 Gyr-old open cluster NGC 752. They analysed a ~ 140 ks Chandra observation of NGC 752 and a ~50 ks XMM-Newton observation of the same cluster. They detected 262 X-ray sources in the Chandra data and 145 sources in the XMM-Newton observation. Around 90% of the catalogued cluster members within Chandra's field of view are detected in the X-ray observation. The X-ray luminosity of all observed cluster members (28 stars) and of 11 cluster member candidates was derived. These data indicate that, at an age of 1.9 Gyr, the typical X-ray luminosity L_x of the cluster members with masses of 0.8 to 1.2 solar masses is 1.3 x 1028 erg s-1, which is approximately a factor of 6 times less intense than that observed in the younger Hyades. Given that L_x is proportional to the square of a star's rotational rate, the median L_x of NGC 752 is consistent, for t >= 1 Gyr, with a decaying rate in rotational velocities v_rot ~ t-alpha with alpha ~ 0.75, steeper than the Skumanich relation (alpha ~ 0.5) and significantly steeper than that observed between the Pleiades and the Hyades (where alpha <0.3), suggesting that a change in the rotational regimes of the stellar interiors is taking place at an age of ~ 1 Gyr.
The 135 ks observation of NGC 752 was performed by the Chandra ACIS camera on September 29, 2003 starting at 21:11:59 UT. The X-ray source detection was performed on the event list using the Wavelet Transform detection algorithm developed at Palermo Astronomical Observatory PWDETECT, available at http://oapa.astropa.unipa.it/progetti_ricerca/PWDetect. Initially, the energy range 0.2 - 10 keV was selected and the threshold for source detection was taken as to ensure a maximum of 1-2 spurious sources per field. 169 sources were detected in this way. The analysis of these sources hardness ratios showed, however, that all the catalogued stars in the field had low hardness ratios, HR < ~ 0.2, where HR is the number of photons in the 2 - 8 keV band over the number in the 0.5 - 2 keV band. Thus, to maximise the detection of stellar sources, PWDETECT was applied to the event list in the energy range from 0.5 - 2 keV. Using a detection threshold which ensures less than 1 spurious source per field leads to the detection of 188 sources, while lowering this threshold to 10 spurious sources per field, allows 262 sources to be identified in this energy range. This is a significant increase (well above the number expected if all the additional sources were spurious), thus the authors retained this list of 262 sources as their final list of sources in the NGC 752 field, with the caveat that ~ 10 sources among them are likely spurious. Note that the existence of ~ 10 spurious sources in the list is not so much of a problem in this context, because cluster members or candidate members are identified by the existence of a visible or near-IR counterpart.
The authors searched for 2MASS counterparts to the X-ray sources using the 2MASS Point Source Catalogue (PSC) and a search radius of 3 arcsec and found a counterpart for 43 sources. Searching within the Point Source Reject Table of the 2MASS Extended Mission leads to the further identification of 1 counterpart (source number 87).
The X-ray luminosity of solar-mass stars in the intermediate age open cluster NGC 752. Giardino G., Pillitteri I., Favata F., Micela G. <Astron. Astrophys. 490, 113 (2008)> =2008A&A...490..113G
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